Walking the Test Way
Part one - Inkpen to Hurstbourne Tarrant
Distance: 8 miles
Approx time: 3-4 hours
The Test Way begins high on a dramatic chalk escarpment at Inkpen. This section of the Test Way you can walk or cycle the route.
Combe Gibbet is built on top of a Neolithic long barrow known as the Inkpen long barrow. The long barrow is 60 m long and 22 m wide. The story behind the gibbet is that it was erected in 1676 for the purpose of gibbeting the bodies of George Broomham and Dorothy Newman and has only ever been
used for them. It is said that they were having an affair, in 1676, adultery was a crime that could be prosecuted under English common law. They were witnessed by ‘Mad Thomas’ murdering Broomham’s wife and son up near where the Gibbet stands. The double gibbet was placed in the location
near the crime and as a warning, to deter others from committing crimes. The current gibbet is a replica and it has been replaced many times over the years.
From up the top of the hill by the Gibbet the views are gorgeous you can see the bleak downs to the north and the lush plain to the south. On a fine day you may even glimpse the soaring landmark of Salisbury Cathedral’s spire.
As you head along and round the hill ridge the trail drops sharply into a valley and rises up to the small picturesque village of Linkenholt.
Linkenholt is a village of only 22 houses, including the manor house. Its heart is the cricket club, whose pavilion was built as the village reading room. The village is one of the few villages left that
is a privately owned estate and has been for over 1000 years, the current small quaint church was built in 1871.
The path then follows alongside the bed of a winterbourne (a seasonally rising stream) into the village of Hurstbourne Tarrant – a favourite of William Cobbett, author of ‘Rural Rides’.
Refreshments: This part of the route is very remote, there are no refreshments available until Hurstbourne Tarrant, where there is the George and Dragon Inn. The Crown Inn is approximately a 1km detour as it passes Upton.
Accommodation: The George and Dragon Inn, Hurstbourne Tarrant www.georgeanddragon.com
Public Transport: Taxi to Combe Gibbet from Newbury 10 miles, Hungerford 5.5 miles, Andover 12 miles. Hurstbourne Tarrant is on a regular bus route to Newbury and Andover.
Parking: Combe Gibbet SU370620/Hurstbourne Tarrant playing fields SU350530